Copyright: contemporary research handbook

The first in the series of Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property brought out by Edward Elgar Publishing, Copyright Law: a Handbook of Contemporary Research is edited by eminent legal scholar Paul Torremans (School of Law, University of Nottingham, UK and Faculty of Law, University of Ghent, Belgium). According to the publisher's blurb,

"Copyright law is undergoing rapid transformations to cope with the new international digital environment. This valuable research Handbook provides a thorough and contemporary tableau of current thinking in copyright law. It traces the changes undergone and the challenges faced by copyright, as well as its roots and its diversity, combining to present a colourful picture of a dynamic research area.

The editor brings together an elite group of international copyright scholars who offer incisive and original analysis of a wide range of issues and aspects of copyright law, and in some cases a multiplicity of perspectives on a single topic. Rigorous and often thought-provoking in nature, this research Handbook clearly maps the current landscape, and will also undoubtedly stimulate further research in the field.

Analysing the cutting edge of current copyright research, Copyright Law will be of great interest to researchers, students, practitioners and policymakers".
IPKat team blogger Jeremy, who must declare his interest as Series Editor for the Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property, rather enjoys the fruits of the freedom that has been given to the contributors of this volume to say what they find interesting or worrying about their subjects of choice. It makes a pleasant enough change from reading exhaustive and earnest accounts of the law. Also, while many academics are a bit defensive about their special subjects, sending out a message of "This is MY subject, so keep of it!", the tone of most of this collection is more one of "Come on in, the subject's fine!". In a couple of cases there are occasional undertones of "not waving but drowning" -- but much of contemporary copyright is a quagmire of public/private interest conflicts through which the easiest paths are mapped with hindsight.

Though it would be indivious to single out any chapter for particular praise, the IPKat particularly enjoyed Reto Hilty's chapter on copyright law and scientific research, in which the need to treat the scientific sector differently from the entertainment and cultural sectors in terms of access to works and fair dealing shines through; he also liked Brigitte Lindner's realistic appraisal of the scope for deploying alternative dispute resolution in that sticky area where copyright law meets technical solutions to copying. Most thought-provoking though was "Draw me a public domain" by Valérie-Laure Benabou and Séverine Dusollier, which talks of terminologies, metaphors and other things that make set this Kat thinking.

Right: no Jabberwocky contributed to this book ...

On a more trivial note, Merpel has not often seen a collection of essays written by a collection of authors whose very names sound more exotic to the insular eye of the English reader. Here one finds an Xalabarder, a Stamatoudi and even a Quaedvlieg; how dull and prosaic are our own names in comparison. Lewis Carroll could hardly have done better.

Bibliographic details: publication date 2007. viii + 544pp. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84542 487 9. Full price £130. Price with publisher's online discount £117. Rupture factor: mild to middling.
Copyright: contemporary research handbook Copyright: contemporary research handbook Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 Rating: 5

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